Tag Archives: 30paintingsIn30days

Playing in the journal

Feather (papercut)
I have vague painting ideas floating around the corners of my mind. I’m trying to gently tease them out by playing in my studio journal, which is the repository of random thoughts, quotes from books I read, brochures from exhibitions I went to, family photos, letters from friends, notes on the art materials and craft projects. I use it very sporadically, but reading Gwen Diehn‘s “The Decorated Page” makes me want to pull it out and record something in it everyday. I usually don’t show it to others, but thought you may enjoy having a glance at this page created using watercolours, paper-cut and Sunprint feather prints.
Art Journal Page

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Focus

I finally finished my dreamcatcher and thought this would be a good time to write a longer reply to a question that was asked by one of my lovely readers in the comments:
“My problem is focus. It’s not desire or motivation, but organized focus. Do you ever run into this?”
Crochet Dreamcatcher
YES! I have many ideas swirling inside my head and often feel oversaturated by the inspiring beautiful art that I see around me and online. I see something I like and I start to wonder what I could achieve with the same medium or in the same style or exploring the same subject. I wish I could try drawing with pastels and coloured pencils, painting with oils, make collages from my own handmade paper, create book illustrations, achieve the level of realistic detail found in botanical illustration, fill pages with the watercolour splashes and puddles, sketch my surroundings daily, paint on large scale, etc. As well as all these above I also love crocheting, knitting, tried my hand at jewellery making, sewing, embroidery, weaving, polymer clay, yarn & fabric dyeing, and would love to learn to make patchwork quilts.

Take this dreamcatcher. I crocheted the middle of it, which took longer than simple weaving would, but I enjoyed using a skill that I mastered as a child. I also wanted the middle of it to look a bit like the compasses of the iron lacework in my paintings and paper-cut.
Centre of dreamcatcher
The weaved beads were made years ago, when I went through the bead-weaving stage, and now I found a perfect use for them.
Weaved beads
And of course the feathers (cockatoo, ghallah & domestic duck) are from my collection that I gathered for the watercolour paintings.
Dreamcatcher detail feathers
Dreamcatcher detail feathers
I wish I could follow my interests in all of these crafts and art areas all at once, but there isn’t enough free time available to me to allow this. Over last few years I was learning to consciously choose what to spend my time on, but also to remember to leave some time for play, research and exploration of ideas. For now I’m (softly) limiting myself to pen and pencil drawing and watercolour painting, as I feel that I have lots of work to do before I’ll master them. At the same time I’m musing on the idea of limiting the themes for my work, instead the medium, because each time I switch to something else I learn something new. It could be fun to explore “painting” lacework & feathers in watercolour, oils, linocuts, crochet, knitting, etc. Today I painted these magpie feathers with watercolours, but maybe next week I’ll see how they would look done in black&white linocut.
Magpie Feathers watercolour

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Arches medium watercolour paper (15 x 21 cm)

Passionfruit

After few days of 36-39C heat, today was slightly cooler with the forecast promising the top temperature of only 31C (87.8F).  So I used this opportunity to sketch the passionfruit vine, which is growing against otherwise ugly metal shed.  Sadly the flowers are already gone, but there are plenty of leaves and fruit.
Watercolour sketch of passionfruit vine

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink and Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

And here is the photo of the two page spread, because I love how the sunflower and passionfruit vine sketches look together.
Watercolour painting of Sunflower & passionfruit

Happy 2016!

Well, hello in 2016! I’m wishing you a peaceful, joyful, healthy and creative year.

I took advantage of the overcast morning and started my first day of the year by sketching the sunflower in the garden. Sunflowers are such cheerful, solid, vibrant flowers. I planted two varieties this year (this one is Giant Single or Helianthus annuus), but I think next year I’ll plant few more.

Ink and watercolour sunflower sketch

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink and Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

Afterwards I retreated into the coolness of the house to finish something that I wanted to get done last year, but frustratingly got sick & had to put on hold for few days. My daughter asked me to create a colouring page for her. She is very specific in what she wants, so I thought I’ll have a practice run first with the existing sketch to figure out the best way to go about creating colouring pages. Ta Da!
Goldfields New Year Colouring Page
As you can see I used the sketch for my Christmas cards. I retraced it with a Staedtler pigment liner pen. (My first attempt at using the pencil sketch didn’t work too great, because the scanning process turned the colour of the thin paper & pencil lines in too many shades of grey and was too hard to clean up.) After scanning the pen drawing I played around in Photoshop with various adjustments to try to get background as close to white as possible and the lines as close to black. My knowledge of Photoshop is very basic, so this step took the longest. I suspect that it would be faster to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator & my Wacom tablet (a birthday present from my sis) and trace the pencil drawing digitally in the Illustrator instead of by pen.

Anyway, if you feel like doing some colouring, you can download the PDF by clicking on the link Goldfields New Year Colouring page. My kids already had a go at colouring it in.
My kids go at colouring

25 paintings in 30 days

4th of October already? The 30 paintings in 30 days challenge is finished and I’m glad to get to the end of it. I didn’t manage to paint 30 paintings as I forgot to plan for the school holidays and didn’t have the energy to paint every evening at the end of the fun filled days. However, 25 paintings feels like good enough result for me. Here they all are, grouped by theme instead of chronological order:
Collage of 25 paintings done in 30 days
The challenge was a great reminder that regular painting brings with it the improvement in skills and allows to explore the same subject in numerous works gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of the beauty and complexity of nature.

The challenge also helped me to gain a realistic view on how many hours I can dedicate to painting. During school term I get about 3 hrs two mornings a week for painting while the youngest is in childcare. In the evenings I get between 1 and 2.5 hrs to myself, but I need at least one evening for planning/admin/letter-writing/etc and another evening for chilling out. This is a tiny amount of time as even simple small paintings take me at least an hour (and often two) to paint. I need to think hard about the way to divide this time in the most beneficial way to achieve a healthy mix of learning, targeted to improve specific skills; working on more intricate paintings (I’m bursting with ideas!) and painting for the pure fun of it. I also want to get back into daily sketching/visual journal keeping as it creates lovely record of my everyday life and allows to tackle some of the subjects I wouldn’t paint otherwise; but maybe I can fit it into my daily routine with kids.

Succulents

No, I didn’t paint during the trip to Melbourne. Looks like I still need to have my daily routines around me to keep me painting every day. Last night and today I added another cactus and two succulents to this page.
Watercolour sketch of succulents

Winsor & Newton watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

I have a big succulent collection (they are easy to propagate, easy to look after and the kids love them), so there are still plenty to paint. I may be able to fit another two to this page.

Away for few days

This is all I managed to do yesterday.
Pen sketch of few suburban houses

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

I was hoping to paint in the evening after everyone is in bed, but the youngest, who was sleeping beautifully lately, just wouldn’t fall asleep.
I’m off to Melbourne with the family for few days. I’ll bring some art materials with me and will try to find time to paint, but won’t be able to blog until Monday. I may post an occasional photo in my Instagram account.